06.25.10

Gemini version available ♊︎

Patents Roundup: EU Patent Deform, MPEG-LA, OIN, New Zealand, and Patent Trolls

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Patents at 1:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yellow flagpoles

Summary: Remarks, analysis, and developments as told mostly by FFII and its affiliates in Europe (who also care deeply about what happened in New Zealand this week)

As indicated earlier this month, the European UPLS seemingly collapsed [1, 2], taking down with it the possibility of software patents expansion in Europe — for now. According to this long post, the zombie is not dead yet.

Then, in the early morning hours of the very last day of the summit, after endless hours of toughest negotiations, a bunch of bleary-eyed Heads of State, deprieved of sleep, will somehow find the final compromise on the EU patent reform project.

Let’s hope not.

Benjamin Henrion, the president of the FFII, remarked on it by saying that it shows the “Financial crisis of Spain as a bargaining chip for getting rid of Spanish resistance in EU patent” and Florian Müller declined to comment about it on the record (it’s kept private at his request). He did, however, make public information he has been gathering for a while by contacting MPEG-LA and other parties like Google.

One might assume that MPEG LA’s obvious desire to maximize its royalty income would practically guarantee that all significant companies infringing its patents would be pursued. But the worldwide market is huge and if you have a country that’s only medium-sized, then MPEG LA may decide for efficiency reasons to collect royalties only from the market leader. That one would face a risk of litigation if refusing to pay, but if that licensee’s competitors don’t pay because MPEG LA doesn’t go after them for the time being, then that’s an awkward situation for the licensee.

As a reminder, MPEG-LA is an NPE (patent troll) headed by a patent troll. We wrote about this subject in posts such as:

“If you saw my posting of yesterday on MPEG LA’s licensing terms,” wrote Florian Müller to us, “I guess it is an area where we may not be able to agree. We can’t agree on the DPL for now (like the DPL, although I really think you should give it a fair chance and look at it when it’s done because it could really pave the way toward abolition over the course of several years. That’s normal. But concerning codecs, PJ grossly misrepresents the facts by claiming I prefer MPEG’s stuff to WebM. I pointed out different aspects of them in different blog postings without ever saying I advocate one or the other. I left no doubt about my preference for a patent-free format but I have a “show me, I’m from Missouri” attitude about that one and indemnification would change the situation in a very positive way for me as I wrote on my blog. I don’t say MPEG LA isn’t a problem, but looking at what they charge vs. the business that licensees do it’s clearly a small problem in the field of patent licensing. Those who don’t offer licenses at all or only on unreasonable terms are far more problematic. Doing away with software patents would be the right thing to do and it would determine that there’s no cost for any codec. In the meantime I for my part do make a distinction between somewhat acceptable licensing terms and anticompetitive practices.”

Müller also pointed out that “the IDG News story on NEON’s impending EU antitrust complaint against IBM shows the usual patent holder rhetoric of “copycat” and investment in innovation. Unlike MPEG LA, that’s a patent holder who simply wants to shut out competition and nothing else.” We wrote about NEON in [1, 2].

Müller’s interests do not intersect with those of GNU/Linux, just as an important reminder. Regarding Canonical joining the Open Invention Network (OIN), Dana Blankenhorn shows Groklaw’s take on Müller but also Müller’s take on OIN [1, 2]. To quote an insightful portion:

The Founding Members direct policy, licensees can agree to put down their legal briefs, while Associate Members pay an unspecified fee and will exist somewhere in the middle.

“In mobile and in desktop we’re bringing in relationships where people provide a financial commitment, which we’re not announcing the amount, to support the evolution of OIN’s activities into these new areas,” said Bergelt.

In other words, expect a select few other companies to be invited. Perhaps as many as a half-dozen. They and the Founding Members will keep Bergelt’s 22-member staff employed.

That’s one of the issues with the OIN. There is danger that it will serve its own interests rather than just eliminate some of its own software patents. LiMo has a patents pool too by the way. It’s not necessarily helping in a world which is overwhelmingly against software patents. It feeds the software patents proponents. “Anti-free software lobbyists discuss patents on standards, all videos on Youtube,” writes Benjamin Henrion in order to show what they are doing in Europe these days. It’s quite similar to what they do in New Zealand — a subject that we covered many times this year, even in this latest post about the sad outcome. Benjamin Henrion writes to Free software advocates in New Zealand:

Hi,

You have to be aware what is the strategy of IBM and Microsoft when they try to push for the infamous “as such” provision.

A German court has recently made Microsoft FAT patentable, despite the exclusion of computer programs “as such” from the law (the EPC).

Patent judges tends to interpret this provision as “a computer program as such is a computer program on a piece of paper” and this is what is excluded. On the other side, when the program runs on the computer, it becomes patentable.

If you are interested in clarifications to bring in New Zealand, you can take inspiration from the FFII´s 10 core clarifications:

http://consultation.ffii.org/Clarifications

Separately, it’s worth highlighting this new story about non-practicing entity (NPEs). Again, NPEs are patent trolls. “ASP (anti-patent troll company) will resell patents to trolls after 12 months,” remarks on it FFII’s president. Here are some quotes:

I’ve just sat through the IPBC session titled “Getting to Grips with NPEs”. Now that was a session which generated real emotion in me, and showed how amazing us humans are at spending time and effort on things that are ultimately meaningless.

I went through a large range of emotions. I started out neutral . Here we go, just another session about trolls, trolls justifying why even trolls do social good (we help small inventors make money from their IP!-well done, good for you), lawyers arguing over technicalities (rule 11, blah, blah blah), the anti-troll lobby screaming about how unfair the system is to allow this abuse and Dan McCurdy (we’ll come back to him later) giving his troll stats.

I quickly got into irritated. Mainly as the session was dominated by American accents justifying their respective positions. Mild anger soon followed. More American accents, more justification, more self-justifying arguments.

Soon followed by seething. Vigorous agreement with Nokia (great speech, really great speech Dr Schneider) and Technicolor (ex Thomson, good “I hate trolls” speech Beatrice de Russé). I found myself wanting to applaud. C’mon the anti-troll lobby!!!There was little room for middle ground in the room. And, for me, the anti-troll camp has my lifetime vote.

[...]

Dan McCurdy is a legend in the IP world. An IBMer under Marshall Phelps, a licensing expert/jobbing consultant in Thinkfire (I’m sure I recall his profile with a dollar amount against his face for his lifetime licensing dollars generated), now AST. But how can these two statements be reconciled? Statement 1, timed at about 46 minutes in “I would be delighted to close down AST tomorrow if the NPE problem went away!!” (hooray!!), and then, at around 58 minutes in “When we buy patents in for our AST members, we commit to sell them within 12 months, and we sell them to the highest bidder, we sell to operating companies, aggregators, and….to NPEs”.

Excuse me, come again….WHAT!!! You perpetuate the problem by selling on patents, to NPE’s, who can then sue those who don’t have licenses as they aren’t your members.

Notice the presence of Marshall Phelps. That’s one heck of a troll (he builds or assembles patent portfolios, not products) who recently helped Microsoft fight against GNU/Linux and Free software, having previously helped IBM.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

Decor ᶃ Gemini Space

Below is a Web proxy. We recommend getting a Gemini client/browser.

Black/white/grey bullet button This post is also available in Gemini over at this address (requires a Gemini client/browser to open).

Decor ✐ Cross-references

Black/white/grey bullet button Pages that cross-reference this one, if any exist, are listed below or will be listed below over time.

Decor ▢ Respond and Discuss

Black/white/grey bullet button If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

DecorWhat Else is New


  1. IRC Proceedings: Monday, December 06, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, December 06, 2021



  2. [Meme] Rowing to the Bottom of the Ocean

    The EPO‘s Steve Rowan (VP1) is failing EPO staff and sort of “firing” workers during times of crisis (not at all a crisis to the EPO’s coffers)



  3. EPO Gradually Reduced to 'Fee Collection Agency' Which Eliminates Its Very Own Staff

    Mr. Redundancies and Mr. Cloud are outsourcing EPO jobs to Microsoft and Serco as if the EPO is an American corporation, providing no comfort to long-serving EPO staff



  4. Linux Foundation 2021 Annual Report Made on an Apple Mac Using Proprietary Software

    Yes, you’re reading this correctly. They still reject both “Linux” and “Open Source” (no dogfooding). This annual report is badly compressed; each page of the PDF is, on average, almost a megabyte in size (58.8 MB for a report of this scale is unreasonable and discriminates against people in countries with slow Internet connections); notice how they’re milking the brand in the first page (straight after the cover page, the 1991 ‘creation myth’, ignoring GNU); remember that this foundation is named after a trademark which is not even its own!



  5. Links 7/12/2021: OpenIndiana Hipster 2021.10 and AppStream 0.15

    Links for the day



  6. Microsoft “Defender” Pretender Attacks Random Software That Uses NSIS for installation; “Super Duper Secure Mode” for Edge is a Laugh

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  7. Links 6/12/2021: LibreOffice Maintenance Releases, Firefox 95 Finalised

    Links for the day



  8. “Wintel” “Secure” uEFI Firmware Used to Store Persistent Malware, and Security Theater Boot is Worthless

    Guest post by Ryan, reprinted with permission



  9. No Linux Foundation IRS Disclosures Since 2018

    The publicly-available records or IRS information about the Linux Foundation is suspiciously behind; compared to other organisations with a "tax-exempt" status the Linux Foundation is one year behind already



  10. Jim Zemlin Has Deleted All of His Tweets

    The Linux Foundation‘s Jim Zemlin seems to have become rather publicity-shy (screenshots above are self-explanatory; latest snapshot), but years ago he could not contain his excitement about Microsoft, which he said was "loved" by what it was attacking. Days ago it became apparent that Microsoft’s patent troll is still attacking Linux with patents and Zemlin’s decision to appoint Microsoft as the At-Large Director (in effect bossing Linus Torvalds) at the ‘Linux’ Foundation’s Board of Directors is already backfiring. She not only gets her whole salary from Microsoft but also allegedly protects sexual predators who assault women… by hiring them despite repeated warnings; if the leadership of the ‘Linux’ Foundation protects sexual predators who strangle women (even paying them a salary and giving them management positions), how can the ‘Linux’ Foundation ever claim to represent inclusion and diversity?



  11. Microsoft GitHub Exposé — Part IX — Microsoft's Chief Architect of GitHub Copilot Sought to be Arrested One Day After Techrights Article About Him

    Balabhadra (Alex) Graveley has warrant for his arrest, albeit only after a lot of harm and damage had already been done (to multiple people) and Microsoft started paying him



  12. The Committee on Patent Law (PLC) Informed About Overlooked Issues “Which Might Have a Bearing on the Validity of EPO Patents.”

    In a publication circulated or prepared last week the Central Staff Committee (CSC) of the EPO explains a situation never explored in so-called 'media' (the very little that's left of it)



  13. Links 6/12/2021: HowTos and Patents

    Links for the day



  14. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, December 05, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, December 05, 2021



  15. Gemini Space/Protocol: Taking IRC Logs to the Next Level

    Tonight we begin the migration to GemText for our daily IRC logs, having already made them available over gemini://



  16. Links 6/12/2021: Gnuastro 0.16 and Linux 5.16 RC4

    Links for the day



  17. Links 5/12/2021: Touchpad Gestures in XWayland

    Links for the day



  18. Society Needs to Take Back Computing, Data, and Networks

    Why GemText needs to become 'the new HTML' (but remain very simple) in order for cyberspace to be taken away from state-connected and military-funded corporations that spy on people and abuse society at large



  19. [Meme] Meanwhile in Austria...

    With lobbyists-led leadership one might be led to believe that a treaty strictly requiring ratification by the UK is somehow feasible (even if technically and legally it's moot already)



  20. The EPO's Web Site is a Parade of Endless Lies and Celebration of Gross Violations of the Law

    The EPO's noise site (formerly it had a "news" section, but it has not been honest for about a decade) is a torrent of lies, cover-up, and promotion of crimes; maybe the lies are obvious for everybody to see (at least EPO insiders), but nevertheless a rebuttal seems necessary



  21. The Letter EPO Management Does Not Want Applicants to See (or Respond to)

    A letter from the Munich Staff Committee at the EPO highlights the worrying extent of neglect of patent quality under Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos; the management of the EPO did not even bother replying to that letter (instead it was busy outsourcing the EPO to Microsoft)



  22. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, December 04, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, December 04, 2021



  23. EPO-Bribed IAM 'Media' Has Praised Quality, Which Even EPO Staff (Examiners) Does Not Praise

    It's easy to see something is terribly wrong when the people who do the actual work do not agree with the media's praise of their work (a praise motivated by a nefarious, alternate agenda)



  24. Tux Machines is 17.5 Years Old Today

    Tux Machines -- our 'sister site' for GNU/Linux news -- started in 2004. We're soon entering 2022.



  25. Approaching 100

    We'll soon have 100 files in Git; if that matters at all...



  26. Improving Gemini by Posting IRC Logs (and Scrollback) as GemText

    Our adoption of Gemini and of GemText increases; with nearly 100,000 page requests in the first 3 days of Decembe (over gemini://) it’s clear that the growing potential of the protocol is realised, hence the rapid growth too; Gemini is great for self-hosting, which is in turn essential when publishing suppressed and controversial information (subject to censorship through blackmail and other ‘creative’ means)



  27. Links 4/12/2021: IPFire 2.27 Core Update 162 and Genode OS Framework 21.11

    Links for the day



  28. Links 4/12/2021: Gedit Plans and More

    Links for the day



  29. Links 4/12/2021: Turnip Becomes Vulkan 1.1 Conformant

    Links for the day



  30. IRC Proceedings: Friday, December 03, 2021

    IRC logs for Friday, December 03, 2021


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts